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Chris’s visit to India

Chris's recent visit to India with Global Citizen and Oxfam

17 Jul 2015

Chris’s visit to India

Following Chris’s recent visit to India with Global Citizen and Oxfam, we asked Oxfam India’s Gunjan Jain to write a piece about it for the timeline. She was kind enough to do so:

One of my most serious relationships started because of Coldplay’s Yellow in 2002.

He was listening to it when he offered me a lift. Though we studied in the same class, we had never spoken to each other. I hesitated for a moment but I’d already started humming Yellow in my head. How bad could it be? He has good taste in music after all; I thought to myself and climbed into the car. The rest as they say is history.

When I recently joined Oxfam India, I had no clue I would one day get the chance to meet the creator of Yellow himself. Music transcends from its creator to the listener. We start owning it as listeners. An old tune brings back a world of memories and associations of the day we fell in love with it — started playing it on loop. I wonder if the artist knows how he enters into the most private corners of someone’s life with his music. Becomes a part of our memories and experiences. Seeing that distant vision of the creator in person is such a surreal reality.

I knew his music. I loved his music. But what I didn’t know was the man behind his music. Chris Martin is Oxfam’s global ambassador. When we heard that Chris was coming to India and wanted to visit an Oxfam India programme, the excitement and planning was obvious. But soon I realised all plans around the visit were pointless. The directives were clear. No photographers. No video cameras. No media hype. I begged and pleaded for at least one print or TV interview but there was only one focus. Chris wanted to meet the families and people directly. Understand the conditions which surround their lives and the issues which Oxfam India was working on. He wanted time to directly interact with the community.

 

He connects with them in that moment. He feels their joy and happiness, their struggle and resilience. I think that’s why his music touches so many hearts.
Gunjan Jain, Oxfam.

Chris Martin visited an Oxfam India supported project at Madanpur Khadar on the outskirts of Delhi, a resettlement colony of migrants, living on selling recycled garbage. Oxfam India is working with their partner EFRAH to ensure that every child in the community has access to education. I watched as this legendary artist sat comfortably on the floor of sisters Pooja and Aneesha’s tiny hut with only the doorway allowing any ventilation. He listened to the family about how they are educating their 5 daughters and son, their dreams of a college education. He is humble in his questions but he cleverly connects the dots.

My colleague in our Oxford office, who has worked with Coldplay for almost 15 years, told me on our first meeting, the biggest celebrities may support us, but it only makes a difference when someone understands and engages with the issue and the work we are doing. That is why Chris’ support to Oxfam has been so special. I only understood what she meant, when I watched Chris talking with the people living there. He connects with them in that moment. He feels their joy and happiness, their struggle and resilience. He smiles along with them, not for them. I think that’s why his music touches so many hearts. It connects, just the way he does. And creates Magic.

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